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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On "Supper's Ready"

Blogging about prog reminded me of a blog I once found a number of months ago, a blog that 'broke down' prog pieces, analyzing them whilst offering while they may not be that good. I liked that blog a lot. I frequented it. I don't know what happened to it, though. I'll take a look for it sometime.

IN THE MEANTIME (Spacehog), I realized I had most of a ramble on one of my favourite songs saved as a draft here. So here, I finished it and it's being published! I don't talk much about how it could be improved ('cause I love it too much for that!), but it's still a prog ramble, and.. I like those.

Now, throughout the various songs I have heard in my time, I think "Supper's Ready," by Genesis, is objectively one of the more epic pieces. I shall elaborate... when I'm done listening to this stunning solo. ^___^
Don't get me wrong. I've heard plenty of songs. I've loved and hated various ones multiple times. I often hate songs I play too much, though Genesis never gets on my nerves. I always get lost in the music. "In the Presence of Enemies" is another song I can never hate, though by Dream Theater. ItPoE, coincidentally, is another truly epic piece, though I will explain why I feel Supper's Ready surpasses it.
(Note: This elaboration is nothing like a musical analysis; it won't involve any fancy terms or even that good of an explanation. Frankly, it's gonna suck. But I'm just rambling about one of my favourite songs.)
How about we start at a section of the piece that is not even a part of the song? Track five off of Foxtrot, "Horizons" is a small little guitar prelude, beginning with a classical style and progressing to be much more baroque. If a song's description includes the words "guitar," "prelude," "classical," "progressing," and "baroque" in it, then you can bet I'll be sold. =D To put it with a bit more perspective, "Horizons" is a nice break following a series of rather intense, rather proggy songs. It calms you down and mellows the mood a bit to get you ready for the upcoming epic. You could even say it makes the album seem almost...... boring. In a good way. You begin to think the album won't be going anywhere. Then...
..bam. No, not "bam." Just.. "Welcome." The word is not said, but you just get the feeling of being welcomed into a quiet little love song. "A Lover's Leap" is the introduction to Genesis' longest song, and the piece may not stand out with ultra progginess, but it certainly sets the stage with the recurring theme of love, souls, and the recurring musical theme that will show up again later. Peter Gabriel's soothing voice welcomes you into the song, just as he welcomes the lover to his arms. The piece then drifts off on a little musical tangent before the lovers' journey begins.
Actually, the lovers' journey had begun during the musical tangent. The protagonists gaze into each others' eyes and drift off to some sort of mythical wonderland. By the time "The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man" slams in to our speakers, it feels as if it's been playing this whole time. Apparently, this piece tells us about the dangers of science. Normally, I would feel offended about that. I then realize that this is a mythical song with tons of mythical elements in it, emphasis on "mythical." Either way, the protagonists find themselves lost in a strange world, watching strange characters give out strange potions. SUDDENLY
BAM. A skirmish among odd creatures has broken out. "Ikhnaton And Itsacon And Their Band Of Merry Men" has begun. There is conflict everywhere we look as the lyrics turn to onomatopoeias and a sense of rush. Steve Hackett has his fun on his guitar, and we are treated to some quite entertaining musical tangents, and hey! One side has won the battle. The commotion dies down, almost to pure silence. "How Dare I Be So Beautiful?" is a much, much, much more mellow piece. Most of what is heard is just gentle chords fading in and out, as the lovers walk past the former battlefield. They come upon the Greek myth Narcissus, who is then turned into a flower. Hey, a flower? That reminds me of...
"Willow Farm!" Hey! Now THIS sounds like prog. Quirky, sudden, and almost nonsensical. It appears the lovers have come across a farm.. filled with magic that turns people into ducks, ducks into weblogs, and weblogs into cassette tapes. This is arguably where the song picks up and becomes rather magical, though I tend to zone out at this point. >_> I haven't given this particular part a proper listening to in a while. How about we move on? This section ends about as unexpectedly as it begun, with an extended sustain note becoming almost.. unfamiliar. They actually manage to make a sustained note progress. One note. Seriously. It progresses into a flute solo before you even notice anything's changed. Then we move on to a gentle guitar interlude until the drums come marchin' in, hinting that maybe we're about to enter..
"Apocalypse in 9/8!" This... well. I will not even begin to describe this movement. Okay? I cannot begin to describe it. It is quite possibly my ALL-TIME favourite movement of anything EVER. I'm not mentioning the lyrics, the instruments, the sound, nor the truly unforgettable keyboard solo.
"As Sure as Eggs is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)," finally, is where it all comes together. The whole song has progressed more times than is even possible. Now we've progressed so much.. that we're back where we started. The lovers have concluded their journey and are now back, their love burning brighter than ever before. Every single recurring theme in the song so far comes back in beautiful harmony for this movement, and we're treated to the most disappointing part of the song-- the ending. in, it fades out. >_> I hate it when songs fade out. But whatever!

..this has been my ramble on Genesis' "Supper's Ready." Give it a listen sometime, will ya?

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